Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz and his wife, Mary, have made a $1 million donation to the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital to fund research to help premature babies.
With the gift, the hospital will set up the Savvy Ferentz Program in Neonatal Research, which will “focus on improving patient care and outcomes for infants who are born prematurely.”
Savvy Ferentz, Kirk and Mary’s granddaughter, was born after just 21 weeks and five days of gestation in August 2014.
“Iowa’s neonatologists are committed and are already leading the way for these little babies,” Mary said in a press release. “We so deeply admire and appreciate the people who gave us hope and helped our family so much. This is a way for us to help them help others.”
This is not the first time the Ferentz family has given back to Iowa.
Mary Ferentz runs the Iowa Football Ladies Academy, which pledged $1 million in 2012 toward the recently completed Children’s Hospital.
Kirk and Mary Ferentz gave $400,000 in November 2006 — $250,000 was designated to the UI Children’s Hospital for pediatric research, and the other $150,000 was for research in the liberal arts college.
Kirk and Mary also donated $500,000 toward the $55 million football operations center.
“This gift from the Ferentzes will help us capitalize on our strengths, advance our research, and, most important, make an impact on the lives of many Iowa children and their families, now and far into the future,” said Jeffrey L. Segar, M.D., the director of the Division of Neonatology at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “We are deeply grateful for their support.”